Biomarkers of Human Longevity as the Industry’s Lowest Hanging Fruit & Major Critical Catalyst for Accelerating Results in Practical Human Longevity
By Dmitry Kaminskiy, Founder and General Partner of Deep Knowledge Group
In ‘Longevity Industry 1.0: Defining the Biggest and Most Complex Industry in Human History’, we distilled the complex assembly of deep market intelligence and industry knowledge that Deep Knowledge Group and its Longevity-focused subsidiaries (including Longevity.Capital and Aging Analytics Agency) have developed over the past 5 years into a full-scope documentation of the global Longevity Industry, showing the public exactly how the international consortium of commercial and non-profit entities managed to define the overwhelmingly complex and multidimensional Longevity Industry for the first time, and how they created a tangible framework for its systematization and forecasting.
In reality, Longevity is the deepest of all DeepTech sectors, and occupies the very forefront of advanced biomedicine, sitting at the intersection of many domains of DeepTech and Frontier Technologies. The industry’s intersection with, and reliance upon, advanced technologies does not, however, preclude the fact that it is also deeply interconnected with specific behavioural and lifestyle interventions. What it does mean, however, is that the scope and sophistication of technology-based tools and methods of optimizing day-to-day Healthy Longevity are large, rapidly increasing, and much broader (and deeper) than many people realize, extending far beyond simplistic approaches involving diet, exercise and supplements, and encompassing DeepTech products and services that are becoming increasingly available to the consumer.
Whereas Longevity Industry 1.0 charted the inception and rise of the industry up to 2020 and provided the methodology and framework for defining and analyzing the industry, its sequel, ‘Longevity Industry 2.0: DeepTech Engineering the Accelerated Trajectory of Human Longevity - The Blueprint and Pathway from Longevity Industry 1.0 to 2.0’, outlines Deep Knowledge Group’s recent work toward formulating the pathway to Longevity Industry 2.0, and presents the framework for safeguarding the sector’s current upward trajectory and ensuring its optimized, sustainable growth towards its next stage and the realization of its practical benefits for humanity by the year 2030.
The book outlines several issues (and proposed solutions) that we believe constitute the foremost bottlenecks and risks to a continuing positive trajectory of development in Longevity science, policy, industry, finance and investment, and present a preliminary view of the frameworks we are developing to help strategic decision makers, industry participants and the general public take greater control over the real-world development of both the Longevity Industry and Healthy Human Longevity.
In this first article, we will begin by discussing the ways in which Biomarkers of Human Longevity will serve as the major catalyst for short-term change, development and harmonization within the Longevity Industry, capable of optimizing the strategies and practices of Longevity companies, investors and policy makers and enabling the first tangible, real-world impacts in the translation of Longevity science and theory into practice in Practical Healthy Human Longevity.
Biomarkers of Human Longevity: The Major Catalyst for Accelerating Longevity Industry Development and Neutralizing its Biggest Systemic Risks
As the Precision Health industry grows, we will see an increased emphasis on the creation and validation of a wide diversity of Biomarkers of Aging which will enable the extension of healthspan and the maintenance of optimal health for the population via continuous AI-empowered monitoring of fluctuations in personalized Biomarkers of Aging.
P4 (Preventive, Predictive, Personalized and Participatory) Medicine, being the cornerstone of lifespan and healthspan extension, will be the central platform for the utilization of a wide array of Longevity Biomarkers for healthcare by both the general public and progressive governments seeking to optimize their population-level National Healthy Longevity.
Support and development of Biomarkers of Human Longevity has been a priority of Deep Knowledge Group for many years, and was one of the factors that influenced its first investment in the Longevity industry in 2014 (in Insilico Medicine, which has gone on to hold Series A and B rounds from other investors including Wuxi AppTec, Pavilion Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, Eight Roads, F-Prime Capital, Lilly Asia Ventures, Sinovation Ventures, Baidu Ventures, Pavilion Capital, Bold Capital Partners, and others) precisely due to its strengths not only in AI and deep learning for Longevity research and drug development, but also in its work relating to Biomarkers of Human Longevity.
In 2019, Deep Knowledge Group's Longevity-focused analytical subsidiary, Aging Analytics Agency, produced and released ‘Biomarkers of Longevity: Current state, Challenges and Opportunities Landscape Overview 2019’, which marks the first public disclosure of its ongoing study into the current state and future trajectory of this domain.
That special case study, which performed a benchmarking of human biomarkers of aging and Longevity according to their degree of actionability (a weighted metric that analyzed their level of precision and accuracy such factors that determine how easily they can be implemented on a massive scale, such as cost, invasiveness, and broad ease of adoption).
In Q1 2021, we are following up on this report with a new, open-access, extended and enhanced edition, titled ‘The Rising Wave of Human Biomarkers of Longevity: Landscape Overview 2021’, along with an associated IT-Platform to make the report’s key conclusions, take-aways and predictions maximally usable and understandable for Longevity scientists, companies, investors, policy makers and the general public.
The project uses comprehensive analytical frameworks to rank and benchmark existing panels of biomarkers of aging, health and Longevity according to their ratios between accuracy and actionability, identifying the panels of biomarkers that could have the greatest impact on increasing both individual and national Healthy Longevity in the next few years.
The importance of benchmarking Longevity Biomarkers and Biomarker Panels by their ratio of accuracy vs. actionability, rather than just their accuracy, cannot be overstated. In order for this domain of technologies to accelerate the translation of Longevity theory into practice, and enable short-term progress in the extension of Healthy Human Longevity, they need to consist of biomarkers that are market-ready, and obtainable to the majority of doctors, clinicians and the nation’s citizenry.
We now have biomarkers and biomarker panels that are market ready; actionable enough (i.e., with comparatively low cost and invasiveness) to be developed, applied and used at scale; and accurate enough to prove useful in validating the safety and effectiveness of lifestyle, behavioural and Precision Medicine-focused interventions and tracking their changes on individual and population-level Healthy Longevity.
With this in place, the Longevity Industry (as well as national governments) has no excuse not to use them for the purposes of therapeutic validation on the one hand, and optimization of population health on the other.
The upcoming project is produced by Aging Analytics Agency for Deep Knowledge Group’s international Longevity policy-focused subsidiary and open-access Longevity Industry knowledge and collaboration platform, Longevity.International, in order to foster the maximum degree of international collaboration and transparency.
It is our hope that releasing the report and IT-Platform in an open-access manner via Longevity.International will encourage scientists, companies and other industry stakeholders to make their own contributions to the platform, with the goal of eventually arriving at a robust consensus framework.
Using this data, the report provides advice to industry leaders for the conception, development and maturation of their action plans, providing insurance organizations with a tool to improve their customer services and risk pricing principles: and to policy makers in order to combat the problem of Ageing Population and realize the opportunity of National Healthy Longevity.
The project is designed to offer key strategic recommendations regarding technologies and biomarker implementations within the reach of companies, entities and nations in order to assist them in optimizing their developmental action plans and strategies, providing specialized guidance for business and investment core decisions. It delivers the following:
A "most comprehensive" list of single biomarkers of aging and panels; their advantages, strengths, disadvantages and weaknesses; and future perspectives, challenges and opportunities, with a focus on technologies currently used for assessment
Concrete analysis of recent novel biomarkers of aging just entering R&D processes today, emerging tools, and novel assay platforms awaiting approval or standardization for clinical implementation, one step away from being market-ready within the next several years
Highlights regarding why AI platforms will come to be a necessary and indispensable component of Longevity biomarker discovery, research and development
Overview of different categories of panels, whether for Research Use Only or Approved for Clinical Use
Classification of most advanced aging biomarkers (aging clocks); their combinations with AI systems; and SWOT and Technology Readiness Level (TRL) analysis of each category, with reviews of example use cases and action points. Overview of aging biomarker mobile applications currently on the market
Brief overview of aging clock application in the insurance industry, concerning technological and ethical aspects
Conclusions and practical recommendations regarding the application of aging clocks
The parties with early access to this report will gain expertise and insights into the current state of the ageing biomarkers’ technology and market; the relative technological and economic traits of each biomarker group and their applicability in various healthcare industries; and the insurance industry (which we will be discussing in detail in a future article in this series).
The project is designed to provide all stakeholders, including companies, investors, governmental and policy-focused organizations, and the general public with:
Concrete deep analysis of which biomarkers and biomarker panels are available today; the strengths and weaknesses of each; their accuracy, availability and current actionability; their technology readiness levels (TRLs); and the peculiarities of each type of longevity biomarker regarding its uses for real-time and precision monitoring of health status and biological age
Tangible estimations of which biological age biomarkers and implementations are consolidated, or their current conditioning stage for precision assessment of health status and endpoints of clinical trials and therapies and their use in insurance risk assessments
Highlights regarding the role of digital biomarkers and AI platforms and how they will become necessary components of ageing and Longevity biomarker discovery, research, development and daily use – also an overview of mobile apps containing actionable biomarkers or ageing clocks
Artificial Intelligence as the Major Catalyst for Biomarkers of Human Longevity
Of all the different technologies and toolsets driving progress in the global Longevity Industry, the one with the greatest potential to create a real-world impact on human Longevity in a short timeframe, and the one with the highest cost-effectiveness ratio, is the application of AI and data science to Longevity. Unfortunately, despite being the pillar with the greatest promise, it happens to be the most underrepresented and underfinanced within the global Longevity Industry.
The are many reasons for the enormous potential of AI in Longevity generally and of AI for Human Biomarkers of Longevity in particular:
First, Longevity is unprecedentedly complex, both as a science (dealing with the deepest levels of biology, health and disease) and as an industry (being composed of the intersection of many distinct, individually complex domains of frontier science and technology). AI, data science and mathematics are being applied in R&D precisely for the purpose of processing data that is too voluminous and complex for humans to address manually – it is the engine not only for neutralizing complexity but also for yielding its power to create new-positive results.
Second, with the inevitable increase in distinct data points on the nature of aging, the number of specific biomarkers of aging and Longevity, and the number of distinct Longevity therapies and technologies, AI will become the only tool for managing this enormous volume of data, both as it applies to P4 Medicine and Precision Health (the real-world practical implementation of Longevity technologies) and with regard to core Longevity R&D (which will not reach marked-readiness for a number of years).
Third, AI is a vertical industry that is very well-funded, with leading nations currently competing to win the global AI race, to develop and secure the most advanced AI technologies and IP, and to capture the highest densities of AI specialists. Ongoing developments in core AI innovation are themselves rapidly implementable (with AI being a virtual, digital technology that can be replicated, transmitted near-instantaneously, and utilized at zero material cost once developed), and therefore capable of having immediate accelerative impacts on Longevity.
Fourth, AI is an evolving and self-accelerating technology, in the sense that the latest advances in AI make it easier to develop the next paradigm shift in AI, prompting an exponential effect.
Fifth, many technologies and techniques for extending Healthy Human Longevity, practicing preventive medicine and maintaining an optimal state of precision health are already invented, validated and ready for use; however, they lack an infrastructure for scaling them to the masses. This is why we predict that the vast majority of practical, real-world effects in terms of extending healthspans in the next several years will come from existing, validated technologies, making it a data aggregation and analysis challenge rather than a biomedical or biotech R&D problem.
In our opinion, AI for Longevity is the “smart money” sector of the industry which can achieve tremendous results and accelerated timelines in terms of progress in tangible, real-world Healthy Human Longevity, even with modest levels of funding compared to other sectors. We predict that this is the precise role AI will play in the Longevity space during Q1- 2025: i.e., the aggregation, development and deployment of biomarkers of aging, health and Longevity; Preventive Medicine diagnostics and prognostics; Precision Health technologies and therapeutics; and integrated wealthspan-extending AgeTech and WealthTech solutions for financial wellness across extended periods of Healthy Longevity.
The apex of AI for Human Biomarkers of Longevity, and its most robust and advanced embodiment, will be as the enabling force for creating a so-called digital avatar of the full human body, using thousands if not tens of thousands of personalized biomarkers (with at least several hundred precise biomarkers of aging and Longevity), not only biological but also psychological and behavioural.
The use of AI as a fundamentally necessary component in the development of Human Biomarkers of Aging and Longevity becomes even more apparent, and obvious, when one considers that the unprecedented complexity of aging necessitates a greater degree of precision in how Biomarkers of Human Aging and Longevity are formulated, monitored, and applied than any other field. Not only does the nature of aging (especially from a biomarker standpoint) differ greatly between individuals, it also varies considerably within the same individual over time. This complicates the process of both designing therapies to treat aging, as well as understanding it in the first place.
It is likely that there will be no universal therapy for biological aging, and that treatments will need to be varied and adjusted for each distinct individual, and to be re-tuned dynamically over time in any specific person. The only feasible method of facilitating this is the development of highly precise and personalized biomarkers of aging, which can be used to tailor treatments to individual patients, and to adjust the dosing, composition and other factors of those therapies within each patient over time, via high-frequency monitoring of personalized biomarkers of aging.
This fact also greatly complicates the matter of transferring positive results in model organisms to human patients. If the very nature of the biological ageing process varies so greatly between different individuals of the same species (humans), and varies over time within any given specific person, how could it be possible to expect that the nature of aging (and the results of a given Longevity therapy or intervention) to correspond and remain largely unchanged between entirely different species, with highly dissimilar genomes, phenotypes and physiologies?
It is very clear that any progress on this front will require the development of much more precise, personalized and continually-adjusted and monitored frameworks for the formulation and tracking of Biomarkers of Human Aging and Longevity, and for the design, application and adjustment of therapeutic regimes. And AI will prove completely critical and integral to this process, given the high demands for data aggregation, management and analysis.
It is clear that AI will soon become not just a complementary but a fundamental tool for developing, refining and applying biomarkers of Human Longevity, serving as the foremost catalyst in accelerating progress in this domain, and acting as the trigger in a chain reaction that will lead to rapid progress in the translation of Longevity theory into practice. Indeed, the metaphor of the nuclear chain reaction is not out of place here: in previous reports, Longevity policy proposals, and other materials, we have argued that what the Longevity Industry needs most from national governments is a full-fledged commitment to transform the challenge of population aging into the opportunity of optimized National Healthy Longevity, on the same scale and with the same ambition as the Manhattan Project and the creation of the atomic bomb. This remains true today, and such a commitment would create change just as fundamental and widespread as the Manhattan Project, although in a positive rather than negative direction this time.
About the Next Article
This article introduced actionable, market-ready panels of Biomarkers of Human Longevity as a scientific and technological domain with the strongest prospects of accelerating the translation of Longevity theory into practice, and accelerating the short-term trajectory of real-world applications in Practical Healthy Human Longevity.
In the next article of this series, we will extend this discussion by discussing the Longevity Industry’s most fundamental and systemic risk and greatest potential source of destabilization. This will lay the necessary background and context for the third article in this series, which will provide an overview of how Biomarkers of Human Longevity, in combination with other modern tools, techniques and technologies, can be used to neutralize this source of risk and pave the way for more stable and balanced developmental prospects for the future of the Global Longevity Industry.